To increase the ‘reach’ of evidence based practice to older people, providing home exercise and small group exercise options to prevent falls, injuries and improve cognition amongst older people

  • To provide an understanding of the rationale behind the OEP design, service implementation, and the principles of exercise programming and the guidelines for leading exercise for frailer older people in 1-2-1 and group settings.
  • To provide the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to deliver the OEP safely and effectively to frailer older people with a high risk, or history of falls, and to understand the differing skills and qualifications required for implementing the programme.
  • To provide information about the health and falls prevention benefits of exercise and the impact of falls on older people.


The Course consists of the original 22 OTAGO Exercise Programme exercises, designed to prevent falls and improve balance, strength and confidence, that made up the original OTAGO Exercise Programme home exercise study design. There are some additional warm up and cool down exercises to ensure current international guidelines are followed. The specific order and progressions for each exercise is predetermined for OEP Leaders by LLT.

Underpinning knowledge covers the rate of ageing and falls in the ageing population and the effects of physical activity on health, physical performance, movement control, confidence and quality of life in old age. Learners will practice leading the OTAGO exercises under the guidance of highly skilled tutor; exercise technique, safety, communication skills and safe management skills are emphasized in order for the OEP to be delivered in small groups.

The OEP can be lead by a range of health professionals, and exercise leaders/instructors and should be implemented as part of a broader falls prevention service. L2 OEP Leaders should be working as part of an agreed pathway where by suitability for participation in the OEP is assessed by an appropriate health professional.

Blended Learning Approach

Online Pre-course training
LLT have developed an online training portal designed to give more flexibility, reduce travel costs and time required off work and allow theory elements of the training to be completed in your own time. LLT are still committed to face to face/practical workshops and all these remain in place for your training, it is the theory elements that lend themselves well to self-directed learning that will be placed onto the online portal for your convenience.

How will the online training portal work?

  • We will send by post the manuals you will need for the training
  • We will email you an enrolment key (password) to access some resources prior to attending the face to face training, so when you attend the training you have already learnt a lot about the OEP which means we can really focus on your practical skills when we see you
  • There will be FOUR narrated PowerPoint presentations for you to watch and listen to
  • There are videos of all the OEP exercises for you to watch
  • Once you have watched all of these, there is an MCQ quiz for you to complete online plus a short answer worksheet for you to complete and send to us (both of these form part of your assessment/award) prior to the face to face training.

IMPORTANT: The online tasks are mandatory to complete before the face to face training. Please note we do not recommend using smartphones or tablets for the e-learning work.

Completion of the online elements will require you to have;

  • Access to computer & reliable internet
  • A minimum of 8 hours will be required to read manuals, watch the PowerPoints and complete the pre-course online tasks

Software and Hardware requirements for your use of the training portal
There are no hardware requirements. There are software requirements – the minimum browser version that can be used is: recent Google Chrome(30+), recent Mozilla Firefox(25+), Safari 6, Internet Explorer 9 or 10.

Face to face training
Following the online pre-course learning, the face to face training will focus on the leading and teaching skills of the OEP to prepare you for your practical assessment.

The face to face course runs over 3 full days (9 am – 5.15 pm). 2 face to face course days followed by 1 day practical assessment. This course runs over a minimum of 4 weeks to allow task oriented practice before the assessment.

We also run 2 days intensive courses for Physiotherapists and Therapy Instructors (Tis), with at least one years experience of teaching older adults. One day covers the practical delivery of the exercises (and support) and one day is the Assessment.


Each candidate receives a copy of the “How to Lead” Manual developed by Later Life Training. Candidates can freely download the original OTAGO Exercise Programme Manual from New Zealand (from enrolled course page), an OEP home exercise booklet for their clients, and can purchase the audio files of the exercises so that they can burn the files onto a CD for older people to play them on their CD player or transfer them to an iPod.


Successful learners will receive a Later Life Training Certificate – OTAGO Exercise Programme Leaders Award.
Important: We are in the process of reviewing the course with a view to applying for CIMSPA CPD endorsement.

Level of Certification
The course has been aligned with NVQ Level 2 in Care and Level 2 in Exercise and Fitness. The course will provide evidence which can be used towards specific units of NVQs but will not in itself cover the full range of an NVQ unit. Attendance Only certificates will be given as appropriate.

The OEP can be lead by a range of health professionals (i.e physiotherapists), and highly qualified exercise leaders/instructors (L3/L4) who have additional skills and professional working parameters and should be implemented as part of a broader falls prevention service. L2 OEP Leaders should be working as part of an agreed pathway where by suitability for participation in the OEP is assessed by an appropriate health professional.

The OEP is an evidence based home exercise programme with a group exercise application. It is a L2 course because it is a ‘pre-set’ programme of exercises, where OEP Leaders work alongside other health professionals and as part of a broader falls prevention service. Only higher skilled health professionals (physiotherapists) or L4 PSI’s may identify patient suitability and exercise progressions. Not all OEP Leaders are the same (they can range from health professionals to L2 instructors, L3 and L4 instructors) therefore some OEP Leaders can undertake elements of the programme that other OEP Leaders may not. For this reason it does not align ‘simply’ to the current training framework for exercise professionals. Issues of insurance are complex and varied and dependent on whether instructors are REPs registered will impact on pre-requisites required for insurance to be valid. Not all insurance providers are the same either.

At the point that an older person commences a group or 1-2-1 exercise programme, someone must be accountable for ensuring that they are in the right place/programme. Not all OEP Leaders are the same because it depends on their other qualifications as to whether they have the skills to recognise whether the person is suitable. Taking a broader view of a service, we advise that physiotherapy form part of your steering group for agreeing inclusion criteria for OEP in any setting because this helps develop the partnership working that will benefit the service, and the individual. We don’t want people going straight to OEP if there is a suggestion that they have medical issues and really need a more comprehensive falls assessment.

As a standard recommendation to ensure you are clear about insurance you hold, we/LLT recommend that you contact your insurance provider prior to applying for any training with us. Because OEP is a little different to other certificates and in line with our commitment to support leaders and instructors in increasing evidence based exercise for older people and frailer older people, we consulted with CMC Insurance in order to provide a solution.

IMPORTANT OEP Leader Insurance Information

We are delighted to confirm that Aviva (the underwriters for CMC Insurance) have agreed to include OEP cover within standard FitPro insurance. On completion of your OEP training you would need to to forward a copy of the certificate to FitPro, together with your Level 2 certificate. You can take out membership and insurance with FitPro on-line.


The Otago Exercise Programme Leaders Award was developed in collaboration with Professor John Campbell and Dr Clare Robertson of Otago University, New Zealand and with Julie Whitney of Kings College Hospital Trust, London, UK and launched by LLT in 2007. Susie Dinan, Dawn Skelton and Sheena Gawler are the LLT developers of this course. An article, in FitPro, about the OEP course can be seen here.

Using the Award

It is anticipated that successful learners will deliver sessions either working within the therapies in a hospital based programme or leading falls and injury prevention sessions in community settings as part of a local health improvement plan or onward referral from the Falls or Care of the Elderly rehabilitation setting.

The OEP can be lead by a range of health professionals (i.e physiotherapists), and highly qualified exercise leaders/instructors (L3/L4) who have additional skills and professional working parameters and should be implemented as part of a broader falls prevention service. L2 OEP Leaders should be working as part of an agreed pathway where by suitability for participation in the OEP is assessed by an appropriate health professional.

Endorsement information for this training is currently being updated – REPs points no longer exist – we are in the process of updating our endorsements with CIMSPA

We are proud to receive endorsement from AGILE, the specialist Older Peoples Section of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, and from ProFouND (Prevention of Falls Network for Dissemination).

In New Zealand, a targeted home exercise program (OTAGO), to women aged over 80, a population at high risk of falls, was taught to participants in their own homes by a physiotherapist and compared to social visits as a control (for review see Campbell & Robertson 2006). Exercises were individually prescribed from a set number of warm up, muscle strength and balance training exercises to perform 3 times a week for a year. They were also encouraged to walk outdoors at their desired pace building up to 30 minutes 2-3 times a week. The physiotherapist visited each intervention participant four times over the first two months following on with regular telephone contact. The exercise group had a significantly lower rate of falls. This exercise approach, now called the Otago Exercise Programme has been further investigated in four RCTs (Campbell & Robertson 2006). A study in Norway showed that over a 12 week period, OEP delivered in groups had better improvements in balance and function than a home based programme.
More recently, ProAct65+, a research study looking at primary prevention has shown that OEP is less effective at reducing falls in low risk patients than FaME (PSI) so it is clear that OEP is suitable for frailer older people at high risk of falls and is a starting point for moving people into more challenging balance exercise for ongoing gains.

A full list of research papers and articles forming the evidence base behind OEP can be found here

For full course eligibility please see the OEP Eligibility page

Candidates will have completed worksheets online and submitted them prior to the face to face course days. On the assessment day, there will be assessment of the competence of the practical leading of 5 of the exercises and of the written presentation of the leading plan for all of the exercises (instructions/technique points).

Assessment Appeals Procedure – If you wish to make an appeal against your assessment decision, please complete the form contained within our LLT Appeals Procedure.

Payment must be received at least 4 weeks prior to face to face training days in order to allow access to the online training portal.
The full 3 day course cost is £420 plus VAT per applicant and includes the Course Manuals, Assessments and Certification.
The 2 day intensive course is for physios only and costs £310 plus VAT per applicant and includes the Course Manuals, Assessments and Certification.
LLT offer discounts on courses, see if you qualify.

Refer/Defer Costs
Charges will apply if you do not attend on your signed up assessment day (irrespective of reason). Should you refer/defer, there are resit costs:
Practical assessment resit – £50 (inc. VAT)
Session plan resit – £25 (inc. VAT)
Worksheets resit – £25 (inc. VAT)

Our full list of Referral/Deferral fees can also be found in the OEP Terms and Conditions

Exercise instructors are advised to liaise with there insurance provider before applying for a course.

You can apply online here, but first we ask that you ensure you have read

Course dates can be found here. If there are no courses currently in your area we will initiate a course as soon as there is enough interest but we cannot guarantee a timeframe for this.

Hosting a course

If you are interested in hosting an Otago course in your area, please contact the LLT Office. We do offer discounts to hosts depending on the number of applicants enrolled. Terms and Conditions for OEP Hosts can be viewed here and for Hosts of the intensive two day OEP course (for Physios and Tis), here.

Medical Conditions and Learning Support Requirements

We encourage everyone to be responsible for their own learning. In light of this, we ask that you please inform us, at point of booking, about any learning support requirements and/or medical conditions support that will help you to access our course content and learn effectively. All information will be treated confidentially and we will make reasonable adjustments to meet your needs.